Mobile advertising in late 2006

The current trend of articles built as “The Seven…”, “The Top Tips You Need…”, “5 Winning Strategies” (etc) are starting to grate a little on me. I can only guess that this is a Q4 2006 “minutes to midnight” attempt to grab social networking visibility.

But at least Ken has gone out on a limb and named some working/nearly-working implementations for marketing messages via mobile.

Real-world working models have been few and far between in my usage and visibility of them as a consumer. As a technologist, it’s clear that the device no-one can leave home without, and which is seen as a link to the rest of the world no-matter-where, is an advertising success story waiting to happen.

He’s right in that with regard to some blue-sky ideas:

It’s [the strategy] not clear, and by the time this one is figured out, the mobile marketing train will have left the station long ago.

In this context, as per his opener, the most-discussed strategies may not have the strongest long-term prospects.

The one I feel most strongly about is the corollary/inverse proposition of

3) Location-based advertising: Remember all the hub-bub about location-based services in 2000? Mobile phone users will merrily walk down the street as their mobile phone beckons them in to the nearest boutique or café with a well-timed ad. The scenario sounded nice…until you actually thought about it for more than two seconds.

Traveling in Europe and East Asia at the beginning of the year, I acutely felt the begging need of a location-based, customer-initiated, service to give me context-and-texture for where and when I was.

Walking down Oxford Street, London, on a Sunday afternoon, why could I not look up the quickest way to Carnaby Street? Why could I not work out where the closest free WiFi was, when confronted by a pound-hungry T-Mobile Zone? Which end of the backstreet is the Thai restaurant I’m going to tonight?

Best organic or fairtrade coffee? A coupon or specials catalogue for this particular Argos?

And this was in the heart of connected, swinging London. The Tokyo experience was more affected by my recalcitrant phone not roaming correctly, but the “buzz demographic” (16 to 28 year olds) with the latest handsets were going gangbusters with mobile mapping-and-tagging and m-commerce (digital tokens via phone as an enabler or payment method for purchases).

With converged media services, the commerce part will become a must-have, not a bolt-on, banner-ad afterthought. Bring the parts of people’s connected lives that are meaningful to the in-hand 100% engagement experience, and gain from the usage data as well as the compounded revenues.

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